1939 in Review

1939
BEST PICTURE

Nominees that didn’t make it:
All ten are solid. Certainly one of the best lineups ever.

For Twitter length reviews click here

35. Cossacks in Exile
Weird as hell Dybbuk tribute.
Favorite Moment: The burning.
34. Dodge City
Bad Robin Hood/Captain Blood.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
33. Gunga Din
Some people are very fond of this but I am not into its colonialism.
Favorite Moment: Bugling.
32. Bachelor Mother
This is silly.
Favorite Moment: The baby gets dropped off.
31. Hound of the Baskervilles
Pretty and placid.
Favorite Moment: Dog in the fog.
30. Union Pacific
What a strange retroactive Palme winner.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
29. The Four Feathers
Gorgeous and stupid.
Favorite Moment: Any of the conflicted scenes over imperialism.
28. The Mikado
If it had been Pirates of Penzance and looked this good I would put this in the Top 20.
Favorite Moment: Three Little Maids in School.
27. Ask a Policeman
I laughed a bit.
Favorite Moment: Headless horseman appears.
26. Golden Boy
Bizarre conflict/politics.
Favorite Moment: “A man hits his wife and it’s the first step to fascism” (promptly undone as a 2016 election predictor with “he can hit me anytime”)
25. Son of Frankenstein
We miss you James Whale!
Favorite Moment: Ending.
24. The Old Maid
Bette does Bette.
Favorite Moment: Party fight.
23. Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Flynn has never looked better and Bette’s never been more…well.
Favorite Moment: Chessboard fight.
22. Destry Rides Again
Dietrich in a western! But…not a Von Sternberg.
Favorite Moment: Her first song.
21. The Spy in Black
Funny, but the weight feels clunky.
Favorite Moment: The huge meal with cigarettes afterwards.

For my Top 20 of 1939 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
5. Mickey Rooney, Babes in Arms-it’s a gremlin!
4. Laurence Olivier, Wuthering Heights-he cannot be called one of this movie’s successes

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
None, good job Academy for the third year in a row!

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actor):
5. Brian Aherne, Juarez-stuck in overcooked crap
4. Brian Donlevy, Beau Geste-one note villainy

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actress):
5. Edna May Oliver, Drums Along the Mohawk-shrieking loon, wrong Ford woman for this year
4. Maria Ouspenskaya, Love Affair-she actually stole the scene in Dodsworth, not so much here

ACTOR
Don Ameche, Midnight
Charles Boyer, Love Affair
James Cagney, Roaring Twenties
Lon Chaney Jr., Of Mice and Men
Robert Donat, Goodbye Mr. Chips-I wish he didn’t play up his age so much but otherwise delightfully warm
Henry Fonda, Young Mr. Lincoln
Jean Gabin, Le Jour Se Leve
Clark Gable, Gone With the Wind-STAR POWER!!! (IHON > this though)
Cary Grant, Only Angels Have Wings
Charles Laughton, Hunchback of Notre Dame
Burgess Meredith, Of Mice and Men
James Stewart, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-a bit amateur, but powerful
John Wayne, Stagecoach

ACTRESS
Jean Arthur, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Jean Arthur, Only Angels Have Wings
Claudette Colbert, Midnight
Bette Davis, Dark Victory
Bette Davis, Old Maid
Bette Davis, Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Irene Dunne, Love Affair-rises above everything, especially the third act
Greta Garbo, Ninotchka-fucking hysterical when deadpan
Greer Garson, Goodbye Mr. Chips-bland role given real maternalism
Judy Garland, Wizard of Oz
Miriam Hopkins, Old Maid
Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind-a titanic star is born force of nature performance
Norma Shearer, The Women

S. ACTOR
Edward Arnold, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
John Barrymore, Midnight
Richard Barthelmess, Only Angels Have Wings
Ray Bolger, Wizard of Oz
Harry Carey, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-absolutely not second best but still memorably slimy
John Carradine, Stagecoach
Marcel Dalio, Rules of the Game
Jack Haley, Wizard of Oz
Cedric Hardwicke, Hunchback of Notre Dame
Bert Lahr, Wizard of Oz
Thomas Mitchell, Only Angels Have Wings
Thomas Mitchell, Stagecoach-somehow not his best work in an awe inspiring year
Frank Morgan, Wizard of Oz
Eugene Pallette, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Claude Rains, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-human shell holds a monster, and vice versa
Jean Renoir, Rules of the Game

S. ACTRESS
Mary Astor, Midnight
Joan Crawford, The Women
Olivia de Havilland, Gone With the Wind-her strongest plaster saint for being someone who could genuinely anger
Geraldine Fitzgerald, Dark Victory
Geraldine Fitzgerald, Wuthering Heights-nominated for the wrong work but still makes a memorable impression
Gladys George, Roaring Twenties
Paulette Goodard, The Women
Margaret Hamilton, Wizard of Oz
Hattie McDaniel, Gone With the Wind-funny, lived-in, augmentative, and deserved to be the protagonist in her own way
Louise Platt, Stagecoach
Flora Robson, Wuthering Heights
Rosalind Russell, The Women

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